10,000 Maniacs, best known for their mega-hit “These Are Days,” have taken a bold step in their successful career by releasing Twice Told Tales – a collection of British Isles folk songs. Some of these songs are centuries old and the band, with their mastery of traditional instruments and beats, brings fresh life to songs many have forgotten.
Their new lead vocalist, Mary Ramsey, brings a gorgeous Gaelic accent to these tracks. “The Song of Wandering Aengus” is a lovely ballad followed by “She Moved through the Fair,” which mixes a straight-up rock groove by Jerome Augustyniak with beautiful cello by Bryan Eckenrode. “Misty Moisty Morning” and “Canadee-I-O” are fun standouts with peppy guitar work by Jeff Erickson.
The love song “Do You Love an Apple?” has been a mainstay of 10,000 Maniacs’ live shows for three decades and is lovingly crafted here with sweet violin work on it by Mary and Susan Ramsey. “Greenwood Sidey” could either be a beautiful ballad or something from a new Hammer Films horror film – your choice.
“Carrickfergus” is a beautiful ballad about a seaside town in Northern Ireland. The follower, “Death of Queen Jane,” is another ballad, but it’s not a loving song about fond memories. It’s probably the saddest song on the record. Joe Rozler’s string trio arrangement and Dennis Drew’s piano on it are almost heartbreaking. “Marie’s Wedding” is celebratory and has great violin work from the Ramseys.
You need to hear this record if you love British Isles folk music. It’s a good mix of faithful renditions and updated classics.
~ NIk Havert
Nik Havert is a writer, DJ at WSND 88.9FM University of Notre Dame, harmonica player, martial arts instructor, comic book publisher, crime fighter,music lover, cult movie enthusiast, and modern day Renaissance man. He hopes to shark cage dive sometime in the next few years and enjoys travel and good natural root beer. Visit his web site at http://www.picklepress.net.
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